This British Fruitcake Is Over 100 Years Old. It’s ‘Almost’ Edible.


The team finished part of the conservation project in July, the trust said. Some of the other artifacts found: tools, clothing and what Ms. Meek described as “badly deteriorated” meat and fish and “rather nice-looking” jams.

The next phase will be conservation work on the buildings at Cape Adare, the first in Antarctica and the only examples left of humanity’s first building on any continent, the trust says.

Everything found will be restored and returned to its original resting place, in accordance with the site’s status as an Antarctic Specially Protected Area.

In an emailed statement from the trust on Sunday, Jo Scott said: “Because the cake was one of nearly 1,500 artifacts removed from Antarctica’s first building, there are very strict rules around its handling, and it is now being stored carefully before it is returned to the hut (once the building is restored).”

The recipe for preserving fruitcake’s container, according to the trust, involves rust removal, chemical stabilization, coating of the tin remnants, deacidification of the tin label and repairing of the paper wrapper and tin label.

The cake was left untouched.

Scott’s last trip to the South Pole, in 1912, was ill fated. He and his companions made the arduous trek, only to find a Norwegian team had beaten them to it by 33 days. The British explorers all perished on their way back to base.

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